A Critical Consideration

Retail parks are vital hubs of economic activity and community engagement, but they are not immune to the growing risks posed by climate change, particularly flooding.

As urban development continues to expand, the need for effective overflowing prevention strategies in these areas becomes increasingly crucial.

Recent developments, such as the situation in Winnersh, Berkshire, underscore the importance of robust inundation mitigation measures in retail planning.

The Winnersh Case Study

In December, Wokingham Borough Council approved a proposal for an Aldi supermarket in Winnersh, despite initial objections from the Environment Agency concerning flooding risks.

The store, slated to be constructed on green land beside Winnersh Fields Business Park, factored in a 20% rise in the River Loddon’s level.

However, subsequent reviews by the council’s planning officers cited the Environment Agency’s updated recommendation for a higher allowance of 23%.

Conflict and Resolution

Planning officers later expressed concerns over Aldi’s drainage plans, fearing that combined river and rainfall flooding could overwhelm the proposed underground surface water storage systems.

They concluded that the site, located in a water surge risk area, hadn’t adequately demonstrated that it wouldn’t exacerbate flooding risks elsewhere.

As a result, they recommended that the council’s planning committee vote to object to the plan at an upcoming public inquiry in August.

Implications for Future Developments

This case highlights the critical need for adaptive and forward-thinking management strategies in developing retail parks. It serves as a cautionary tale for councils and developers, emphasizing the importance of:

Adhering to Updated Environmental Guidelines: It’s essential to incorporate the latest recommendations from environmental agencies to accommodate expected changes in overflow patterns due to climate change.

Comprehensive Drainage Solutions: Effective drainage systems must be capable of handling the anticipated volume of water from both rainfall and river flooding.

Community and Environmental Impact Assessments: Thorough drainage assessments are necessary to ensure that new developments do not increase the flooding risk for surrounding areas.

Strategic Recommendations


Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS):
Implementing SuDS can significantly mitigate torrential flow risks. These systems include green roofs, permeable pavements, and bio-retention areas, which help manage surface water runoff more effectively.

Flood-Resilient Infrastructure: Building materials and design approaches that enhance the resilience of structures should be prioritized. Elevated foundations, flood barriers, and water-resistant materials can reduce the impact of overflowing on retail parks drainage and surface water ACO systems.

Coordinated Planning: Effective collaboration between local councils, developers, and environmental agencies is essential for developing flood prevention strategies that are both practical and comprehensive. Regular updates and communication can ensure that all stakeholders are informed of any changes in flood risk assessments and environmental guidelines.

As climate change continues to exacerbate risks, it is imperative for urban planners and developers to adopt innovative and sustainable flood prevention methods in retail parks.

The case of the Aldi supermarket in Winnersh serves as a poignant reminder of the necessity for proactive planning and the incorporation of advanced water surge mitigation strategies to safeguard both economic interests and community well-being.

Contact Drain 247 for Retail Park Drain Maintenance

At Drain 247, we provide regular drain maintenance services for retail parks, shopping centres, malls, and leisure parks to help keep drainage systems running in their best conditions. Get the peace of mind that your facility management needs and contact our drainage team today for a quote.